NFL Power Rankings: The Divisional Round

Life is meaningless. Does football even exist without the Tennessee Titans?

Here are the power rankings for the remaining playoff teams and analysis on each one. We have also listed last week’s rank and their preseason power ranking.

As will happen every Tuesday until the offseason, nine of our contributors — Zach Lyons, Mike HerndonJustin MeloJimmy MorrisRobert GreenlawWes WisleyAustin NelsonJosh Hong, and Justin Graver — have submitted their power rankings. Below is the aggregate results of those rankings.

Best Team Left: The Kansas City Chiefs. Surprising I know.

Worst Team Left: The Tennessee Titans somehow found a way to crap the bed on offense and let the very average Baltimore Ravens advance. They will lose to Buffalo because they’re not very good.

Biggest Surprise: The Cleveland Browns utterly dominating the Pittsburgh Steelers was a massive surprise. The Browns were without several coaches, including their head coach/playcaller, and missing several key players.

Here’s where we landed with our rankings as we head into the Divisional Round Weekend…

To see the full list of everyone’s individual rankings click here.

Previous Week Rank:1stPreseason Rank:1st

Wes: The Chiefs will make their 2020 postseason debut against the Cleveland Browns in the Divisional Playoffs on Sunday after sitting back and watching six teams beat up on each other during the Super Wild Card round last weekend. It’s easy to say the Chiefs have a good shot at moving on to the AFC Championship game.

All due credit to the Browns, who have enjoyed a fantastic run and overcome tons of adversity with COVID ravaging both their roster and coaching staff. That said, Patrick Mahomes and company just have too much for Cleveland to handle, in my opinion.

Baker Mayfield found success against Mahomes in college, bu this ain’t college anymore. Mahomes and the Chiefs’ high octane offense will likely set the tone on Sunday for the rest of the playoffs, and the Browns will unfortunately be made an example of why the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL.

Previous Week Rank:2ndPreseason Rank:8th

Jimmy: There is a real argument to put the Packers at #1 over the Chiefs, but for me the Chiefs are still #1 until someone knocks them off. Some people were ready to write Aaron Rodgers off, including maybe some people in his own organization when they drafted Jordan Love in the first round. There was talk last year that he butted heads with first-year head coach Matt LaFleur over what the offense should look like.

Well whatever their differences were last season, they apparently got them all worked out. Rodgers had the best year of his career in 2020 with 48(!) touchdown passes and most likely another NFL MVP award. This league is all about the QB, and the Packers have arguably the hottest QB in the league right now.

The Packers are middle of the road on defense, but middle of the road is perfectly fine with Rodgers playing the way he is. The Packers should probably be the favorites to win the Super Bowl at this point.

Previous Week Rank:3rdPreseason Rank:12th

Robert: This past weekend, the Bills partied like it was 1995, the last time they won a playoff game. Their win over Indy took some luck, it took some terrible decision making by Frank Reich, and it took the worst two-minute drill of all time by the Colts.

Regardless, the Bills are moving on and we get to look forward to maybe the most exciting game of the divisional round. Two high powered offenses, but they couldn’t achieve results in a more different way. The Ravens want to run down your throats. The Bills are happy to pass all over you.

Stefon Diggs has been a top-three wide receiver this year and Josh Allen has been borderline MVP worthy (not NVP worthy though). John Brown adds another dimension to the pass game, and single All-Pro vote getter Cole Beasley is a good slot option.

Where this team might meet their demise is on defense. It’s an okay unit that gets chewed up by all TEs. While the Ravens love to run, their biggest weapon in the pass game is Mark Andrews, so that may be a mismatch. Either way, it should be a fun, high-scoring game, in a weekend full of good ones.

Previous Week Rank:4thPreseason Rank:3rd

Zach: I wanted to talk about this New Orleans Saints team, mainly because I think this year is their year. I also wanted to write about Nickelodeon.

The Saints have a fantastic defense and their offense faced a very good Bears defense. The experience should help them gear up for Tampa Bay. They have played Tampa Bay twice and won both times while putting up 30-plus points in both games.

Michael Thomas is back, Alvin Kamara is looking healthy, and everyone is benefitting with Drew Brees under center. Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the NFL, and this team will be ready for Tampa.

But let’s talk about the Nickelodeon broadcast! If you were watching this game on CBS, you probably had a really boring time and had to listen to the broadcast team of Romo and Nantz somehow make the Bears seem like a well-run team.

However, if you were smart and watched the Nickelodeon broadcast, you got a broadcast that introduced the fun of the NFL to new and old viewers. It was the most boring game of the weekend, but somehow the broadcast made it one of the most enjoyable experiences this year.

Nate Burleson and Noah Eagle need jobs in a booth somewhere and Nickelodeon needs a lot more games. The rule explanations, the comparisons to Nick Toon characters, but most importantly the energy brought to the broadcast was amazing.

Previous Week Rank:5thPreseason Rank:9th

Austin: Taylor Heinicke ALMOST pulled the NFL version of the 15-seed vs 2-seed upset in the NCAA tournament, then the G.O.A.T said, “Not so fast, my friend.”

In the Bucs’ last five wins, Tom Brady has thrown 14 touchdowns to 1 interception. He is in the zone right now. With the receiving trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, the Saints secondary will have their hands full.

As Zach mentioned above, the NFL won this weekend with the super successful broadcast on Nickelodeon, but have you heard? This week’s Bucs/Saints game is on The History Channel.

Gotta love Tom’s humor.

The Bucs were 0-2 against the Saints this season, and in both games they allowed 17 second-quarter points and trailed by double digits at halftime. That’s not a path to success in the playoffs, especially in the Superdome.

Here’s a stat for you: Tom Brady has never lost to a team three times in one season. Bet accordingly.

Previous Week Rank:10thPreseason Rank:21st

Justin M: That was really something, wasn’t it? Despite missing several coaches and players due to an untimely COVID-19 outbreak, the Cleveland Browns had their way with their rivaled Pittsburgh Steelers en route to winning their first playoff game since 1994.

There wasn’t a better story during wild card weekend than this one right here. The Browns jumped out to an astounding 28-0 lead in the first quarter. The Steelers made it close, and you felt like the Browns were about to find a new way to break the hearts of their fan base at one point, but they managed to hold on by a final score of 48-37.

What makes this result even funnier is that the Steelers rested several key players in Week 17 against this same Browns team. If the Steelers took the game seriously, perhaps they would have played a different opponent.

This Browns team has nothing to lose as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs this week. Nobody expects them to win. They should go out there and have fun. You never know what could happen.

End of Season Rank:12thPreseason Rank:16th

Justin G: I have the Rams as my number 4 team this week, a vast difference from my ranking cohorts at Broadway. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, because the real quarterback is on the sidelines with a headset and a playsheet, and his name is Sean McVay. John Wolford took a brutal hit early on from Seahawks’ safety Jamal Adams, knocking him out of the contest and actually landing him in the hospital. Jared Goff stepped in fresh off thumb surgery and managed to beat a Seattle team that had fallen into a funk somewhere around mid-season.

But the Rams remain one of the most dangerous teams in the playoff hunt with a legitimate shot to get to the Super Bowl because they do two things extremely well: play defense and run the ball. Los Angeles pounded it against Seattle, with Goff producing a 2019-postseason-Ryan-Tannehill-esque statline of 9/19 for 151 yards and one TD, managing the game well despite his injury. It was rookie running back Cam Akers who carried the Rams’ offense on his back, with 30 total touches for 176 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

But the Rams ultimately won because first-year DC Brandon Staley’s defense harassed Russell Wilson and the Seahawks all afternoon, even notching a pick-six on a screen pass — the first wide receiver screen of the 2020 season to be intercepted. Wolford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald are all “day to day” according to McVay and could be ready to roll this weekend against a red-hot opponent fresh off a week of rest.

The Packers have an argument to be the NFL’s best team right now, but if there’s any weakness, it’s their run defense. If Los Angeles’s stout front can get after Rodgers, and if Akers can find room to run, the Rams have a chance to pull off the upset this weekend.

End of Season Rank:7thPreseason Rank:2nd

Josh: The Ravens beat the Titans and did so disrespectfully — dancing on the logo, flicking off the fans and leaving without even shaking hands. Clearly, they used some external sources of motivation from previous matchups to drive their performance, and it worked. The game went exactly the way that they game-planned: stopping Derrick Henry and letting Lamar Jackson do his thing on the ground.

While they squeaked past a struggling Titans defense, the Ravens will need to be more efficient in the passing game if they want to make a run in the playoffs and go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Bills and the Chiefs offensively. Lamar finally won his first playoff game, but he has plenty more to prove if he wants to win his first Super Bowl.

Who is too high? Who is too low? Drop a comment down below!

Have your own power rankings? Click here to goto the forum and put yours up!

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